This note updates, verifies and adds to the information contained in Regional Transportation Governance: Selected Case Studies produced by the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority in 2006. It contains information about 12 transportation agencies in Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K., and Finland. All of the cases are regional transportation agencies, though the scope of their responsibilities varies. Some are responsible for multi-modal transportation systems, while others READ MORE
Research from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) has found that people in more walkable cities are more likely to be healthy. The research involved studies in 11 countries, and recommends that cities encourage walking and physical activity through: better integration of residential areas with commercial areas building communities so that the places where people want READ MORE
Surrey City Council is moving forward on a new by-law which would require all new gas stations to include alternative fuel sources such as a level-three electric vehicle charging station, compressed natural gas, hydrogen or propane. “We want to promote and advance clean technology by building the necessary infrastructure to support alternative fuel vehicles,” says Mayor READ MORE
Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been hard at work trying to scrap the city’s long standing transit plan which would see an expanded light rail network. Calling the plan a “war on cars” the mayor put forth a new plan that would see all new transportation improvements buried underground. Yesterday his motion was defeated by READ MORE
Canadians have on average paid less for food than people in other countries, but that will soon change. High transportation costs, low crop yields and export restrictions are responsible for recent spikes in food prices. Overall costs rose 4.5 % between November of 2010 and 2011, eggs rose 12.3% and potatoes rose 20.3%. The increase READ MORE
Several Canadian municipalities are looking at outfitting their trucking fleets with safety barriers. Cycling and pedestrian deaths from heavy trucks has gone down in Europe since guards have been implemented. The barriers cost approximately $1500 and Toronto councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker believes rails should be required despite the costs; “all of us accept today that READ MORE
Groups such as the Toronto Board of Trade and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance are throwing their support behind the idea of a gas tax that would be used to fund transportation projects. Toronto currently has the worst gridlock in the country. The idea of a tax will be discussed today at the Toronto Talks READ MORE
Currently municipalities receive 10 cents for every dollar collected in gas taxes, but the Globe and Mail suggests that many municipal woes – from traffic congestion to crumbling infrastructure, would be fixed if the full amount were transferred. At present, “traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area alone costs the economy $3.3-billion in lost productivity.” READ MORE
A few of Toronto’s bike lanes, Jarvis St., Pharmacy Ave. and Birchmount Rd. may be scrapped if Mayor Ford has his way. A vote will be held this week to decide if they stay or go. Despite a large amount of public support for the lanes, particularly from residents in the nearby areas, the Mayor READ MORE
On Wednesday Metro Vancouver Mayors agreed to a 2-cent increase in the region’s gas tax to help pay for a rapid transit line for the region’s northeast sector. The Evergreen line has been on hold for years due to a funding gap. It is expected that this additional tax will provide a much needed $40 READ MORE
The popular Bixi borrow a bike program is now up and running in Toronto. There are now 1000 bikes available for rental in the downtown core. A Bixi pass can be purchased for $95/year or $4/month. Trips are limited to 30 minutes or less.Bixi is currently available in Montreal, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, London, England and Melbourne, READ MORE
Transportation Transformation lays out a 30 year plan for transportation in BC and shows how the movement of goods, services and people can transform the way we live, creating jobs and a better quality of life while greatly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change. Read CCPA report here .
Kelowna resident Dave Straley has pitched the idea of a minimalistic magnetized monorail to city council, claiming it will help ease commuter congestion. The proposed monorail builds upon existing magnetic levitation technology already used in high-speed trains. City council has said it wants to see how prototype tests go in San Francisco in 2013 prior READ MORE
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan established new bike lanes as part of PlaNYC, NYC’s blueprint for a sustainable city. A lawsuit recently filed against the city of New York over one particular bike lane in Brooklyn could put PlaNYC at jeopardy. As the proclaimed ‘world’s greatest city’, NYC’s management of READ MORE
Ontario received international praise for Places to Grow, its strategy to reduce urban sprawl. Today however, planning decisions made in certain municipalities threaten its success. The plan gives municipalities a large amount of flexibility in attaining its goals, allowing some of them to deviate from intended responses to increased population growth. Read the full story READ MORE
The Cowichan Valley Regional District, BC, has issued a report card to measure the following areas of environmental concern: Overall Environmental Footprint, Population Growth, Biodiversity, Agriculture, Water, Climate Change, Air Quality and Waste Management. The report card is but one piece of a larger plan for building a “strong, resilient community.” Find report card here . READ MORE
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, the city of Montreal plans to introduce a tax on vehicles. The money generated will be redirected towards improving public transit. Read CBC article here .
Watch this video to learn what steps Copenhagen took to become one of the most livable cities in the world, and how it went from a "traffic infested city to a people oriented city". Hint – lower speed limits!
The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, with support from Vancouver Coastal Health, runs a program that teaches new immigrants how to cycle in Vancouver. A similar program, called “Culture Link”, is being launched in Toronto this June. The programs both aim to reduce stress among newcomers and engage them in new social situations. Read the full READ MORE
In an effort to boost cycling as a mode of transportation from 3.7% to 10%, the city of Vancouver is allocating $25 million dollars towards a two year plan aiming for a reduction in road space for cars. The city has already converted a lane of traffic from the both the Burrard Street Bridge and READ MORE
West Coast Environmental Law expressed concerns regarding the latest draft of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy, entitled “Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future” . They are concerned that the weak language in the Plan will prevent the region from reaching its goals, and recommend that the region commits to a meaningful set of commitments that will be more likely to achieve READ MORE
The Dutch government announced that it wants to implement a green road tax, in hopes of cutting carbon dioxide emissions and reducing road congestion. The transport ministry explains that each vehicle will be equipped with a GPS device that tracks travelling distance, and a collections agency will bill car owners. Read the full story in READ MORE
The Fraser Basin Council’s Transportation Demand Management toolkit offers advice on how to expand sustainble transportation options and reduce vehicle use in small to mid-size communities. It includes 10 case studies that show how bicycle programs, intercommunity transit, carpooling, car-sharing and parking strategies are successfully implemented in communities in B.C. Find the full toolkit here READ MORE
Portland, Oregon is an urban cyclist utopia. Smart city planning, some of the strictest land-use laws in North America and consultation with cycling groups now allow almost 30% of residents to claim cycling as their primary or secondary mode of transportation. Vancouver has the potential to become a world class bike city, however it first READ MORE
UBC students have criticized Translink’s failure to represent campus residents in transit planning processes. The UBC campus, which has a population of 11 000, is currently the second greatest transit destination in the region, and members of the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) are asking for an elected member of the Mayor’s Council to represent READ MORE
Translink’s 30-year long-term plan, called Transport 2040, sets broad goals for reducing greenhouse gases and increasing the use of transit, cycling, and walking. To achieve this system, Translink says it needs $450 million in new funding. Translink has proposed the option of using new property taxes to fund the plan, however regional mayors are strongly READ MORE
The motorization of urban environments has exacerbated road congestion, pollution, and health and safety risks. Members of the European Cyclists’ Federation are adament that this trend can be reversed, and are helping organize Velo-city 2009, a conference that will provide advice on how to make cities more cycle-friendly. The conference will also include the signing READ MORE
The District of Nanaimo has included greenhouse gas emissions targets in its Regional Growth Strategy. This decision is ideal because reducing emissions requires collaboration and cooperation, two key aspects of any Regional Growth Strategy. This move is important as it will allow for more effective, standardized management of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Read READ MORE
Toronto city councillors have approved a new bylaw that will require green roof coverage on all multi-unit buildings and residential dwellings. On a similar note, councillors also approved the development of bike lanes on Jarvis Street. Read the full details of these decisions at Treehugger .
As more people feel the effects of the economic recession, cars are being ditched in favour of public transit. TransLink reported that ridership and monthly faresaver sales have increased, and subsequently, ICBC claims costs have decreased. Read the full article in The Vancouver Sun .
Residents of the upscale German suburb Vauban are living car-free, as part of the “smart planning” movement that is gaining popularity in Europe and the U.S. Breaking the association between suburbanites and cars will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help combat global warming. Planners in California are currently looking to develop a car-reduced community READ MORE
The Community Lifestyles Campagin targets the household and community level, and aims at establishing “EcoTeams” to work through the “EcoTeam Workbook”. EcoTeams are give the opportunity to become informed on topics such as waste reduction, energy efficiency and empowerment, and gain the tools necessary to act as sustainable community leaders. Read more about the campaign READ MORE
The Future of the Region Sustainability Dialogues is the latest outreach component of the Sustainable Region Initiative. It is intended to stimulate discussion and debate among decision makers, and foster new and diverse thought on regional issues such as housing, industry, labor and immigration, drugs and crime, regional economy, energy, and agriculture. Find more information READ MORE
The B.C. government intends to spend $3.1 billion rebuilding and expanding the Port Mann Bridge and connecting Highway 1 routes. Sustainable design researchers at U.B.C. found that for the same cost, the government could finance a light rail system providing connection to residents in Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Delta. The proposed rail system would READ MORE
The BC municipalities of Abbotsford, Langley and Surrey are currently exploring options for light rail transit despite having no commitment from the province to fund it. Read more in The Tyee .
Imagine an intersection where cars in all four directions are stopped and hundreds of people fill the intersection, moving in every direction. This pedestrian free-for-all is now an established and regulated traffic pattern at the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Streets in Toronto. City officials hope this new system will decrease accidents. Read more here.
In an effort to counter soaring gas prices and to keep employees happy, companies across North America are adopting the four day work week. The benefits to this restructuring of hours include more time for employees to be with their families, and less time spent commuting. Read more here.
This brief put out by BC Stats looks at the latest census data for how people across the country are getting to work. The brief also looks at whether people are adapting their daily commute to reflect such realities as climate change, air quality, and the rising cost of fuel. Among the statistics presented: In BC there READ MORE
San Francisco is considering a proposal that would require businesses with more than 20 employees to provide commuting alternatives to the personal vehicle. The move is an attempt to reduce air pollution in San Francisco as well as reduce GHG emissions in the city. Under the new law, businesses would be given three options to READ MORE
Many rural school districts across the U.S. are considering switching to a 4-day week mainly to save on transportation costs. 100 schools in 16 states have already made the switch. One school district reports saving $65,000 on transportation alone. Other districts report better student performance and improved school attendance. Read an article about the switch over .
The Toronto Cyclists’ Union, which started in May 2008 has hundreds of card carrying members. Modeled on AAA, the Union offers insurance, roadside assistance, cycling advocacy, and plans to even offer a dating service for $24 a year. Read more here .
A new study released by the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability shows that for the cost of a single subway line to UBC, an extensive tram system could be built instead. Read a story in the Tyee about the study or a CTV news article .
The new Ontario provincial strategy to curb the growth of suburban sprawl is discussed in this article from the Toronto Star . The strategy includes protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt from future development, intensification targets for existing built-up areas, and a requirement that 40% of all new growth in the GTA must occur within the existing urban boundary. READ MORE
The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) has released a new report that links poor land use planning to public health issues. The report emphasizes good urban design, active transportation, and green infrastructure as keys to healthier communities. Go to the OPPI website for the summary, backgrounder, press release, and full report.